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How pensioner lost savings in book venture is a cautionary tale

PUBLISHED: 15:30 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:33 07 September 2010

Belsize Park pensioner Joan Rhodes paid out much of her life savings to a vanity publisher, only to see her dreams of a best-seller disappear as the company went into receivership. Her experience is a cautionary tale. Sadly, there is no real short cut to

Belsize Park pensioner Joan Rhodes paid out much of her life savings to a vanity publisher, only to see her dreams of a best-seller disappear as the company went into receivership. Her experience is a cautionary tale.

Sadly, there is no real short cut to becoming a successful author. If a life story has commercial value, its potential will be recognised by a mainstream publisher and there should be no need for anyone to part with their own money to get into print. But the temptation can be enormous. If there is any satisfaction to be gained from the situation in which this wonderful lady finds herself, she at least did see her book published - which is not true of all those who paid large sums to the unscrupulous 'publishers'.

Perhaps it is not too late for Ms Rhodes. She has a remarkable story to tell. If only she had met someone like Pat Kavanagh, the much-loved and often feared literary agent who died so tragically from a brain tumour this week, she might well be toasting the success of her literary venture, instead of seeing her hard-earned savings disappear.

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